How To Fix Scratches In Vinyl Flooring

When you install vinyl flooring, the result is typically beautiful. Plus, the material is exceptionally durable, which can help it last. Since that’s the case, it’s incredibly disheartening to see scratches on your vinyl floors. When they happen, the only thing you might be able to think about is how to fix scratches in vinyl flooring.

How you’ll need to fix the scratches in your vinyl flooring depends on how severe the damage is, as that determines your best approach. Scratch concealer, paste wax, or a scratch repair pen may work for mild to moderate damage. However, major scratches might require another approach.

Ultimately, you’ll need to assess the damage to determine best strategy. Here’s what you need to know about how to fix scratches in vinyl flooring.

How To Fix Scratches In Vinyl Flooring

Does Vinyl Flooring Scratch Easily?

Overall, vinyl flooring is very scratch resistant. That’s especially true if you have higher-end luxury vinyl flooring, which offers exceptional durability.

However, that doesn’t mean that vinyl floors can’t scratch. The finish in high-traffic areas may wear away over time, making those spots more vulnerable to scratching. Additionally, dragging tough materials or heavy objects across the floor can cause various types of damage.

Ultimately, it’s critical to take care of your vinyl flooring. Additionally, be mindful when moving items that may damage your floors as they slide across the surface.

It’s also wise to take steps to protect your vinyl floors. By doing so, you can reduce the odds that they’ll be harmed, ensuring they look their best for years to come.

Can You Fix Scratches in Vinyl Flooring?

Whether you can fix scratches in vinyl flooring depends on the extent of the damage. In most cases, minor surface scratches and small chips are repairable. You can potentially use products like scratch concealers, paste waxes, or scratch repair pens to blend the scratches in and level out the surface.

With larger or deeper gouges, fixing the scratches is more difficult. You can always attempt some of the options above. However, they may not blend in as well since the repair material covers a bigger area.

As a result, you may have to look at alternative options to repair your vinyl flooring. One of the most straightforward options is to replace the damaged planks. Since that’s a common approach, it’s wise to make sure you have a few spare planks after installation, giving you some that you can keep in reserve.

Otherwise, you may need to cover the scratch with a rug. You might also be able to swap the damaged plank with one in another spot on your floor.

For example, placing it in an area that will sit underneath a couch could be a solid way to disguise the damage. Then, you can use the plank you removed in the spot that’s more exposed.

How to Fix Scratches in Vinyl Flooring

There are several possible approaches that can help you fix scratches in vinyl flooring. Which option is best depends on the size and depth of the scratch.

For small surface scratches, a scratch repair pen is a quick and convenient option. You may also be able to use a scratch concealer if you don’t need to fill a gouge or want to disguise the edges of a deeper scratch.

For more substantial scratches, paste wax could be a better choice. It won’t just improve the look of the scratched area but will also fill in the dent a bit, making the surface seem flatter.

Regardless of your approach, put on some basic safety equipment. Generally, goggles and gloves are enough.

1. Scratch Concealer

Clean the Area Around the Scratch

The first step you’ll want to take is to clean the area around the scratch. Start by using a microfiber cloth to wipe away surface debris. Next, use a vacuum with a hard floor attachment to vacuum dust around and in the scratch.

Then, use a sponge and apply some vinyl floor cleaner. Finally, rinse the spot with clean water to remove excess cleaner before allowing the area to air dry.

Apply Scratch Concealer

Following the manufacturer’s directions, apply the scratch concealer over the scratch. Use a clean microfiber cloth to gently rub the scratch concealer using circular motions. Continue rubbing until any excess is gone.

After the first pass, look at the scratch to see if it’s blending into the rest of the flooring. If you see white spots along the sides of the scratch, add a little more concealer and rub it along those spots until they blend with the floor.

Let the Scratch Concealer Cure

After applying the scratch concealer, leave it uncovered and allow it to cure. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions to see how long it needs to dry.

Typically, the wait is a minimum of four hours. However, it may be longer with certain products. Additionally, drying times may be extended if you’re in a humid area or the temperature is cooler.

Clean the Scratch Again

After the scratch concealer cures, clean the area over and around the scratch. That removes excess concealer that may have been missed. Choose a mild vinyl floor cleaner, and use the manufacturer’s directions regarding dilution and application.

Rinse and Let Air Dry

After using the cleaner, rinse the area with clean water. Wipe up excess water with a clean microfiber cloth. After that, you can let the spot air dry, and once it does, you can use your flooring as you normally would.

2. Paste Wax

Clean the Area Around the Scratch

Begin by cleaning the area around the scratch. Sweep or wipe up dirt and debris as a starting point. Then, use a vacuum with a hard floor attachment to get any dust caught in the scratch.

Next, use some vinyl floor cleaner – following the manufacturer’s directions – over the area around the scratch. Finally, rinse with clean water, wipe excess water with a clean microfiber cloth, and allow the spot to air dry.

Apply the Paste Wax

You’ll want to review the manufacturer’s instructions to see how to apply the wax, as recommended approaches can vary. You may need to begin by applying some paste wax to a clean microfiber cloth. Next, apply it to the scratch using a circular motion, ensuring it works its way into the scratch.

However, other manufacturers may recommend using a plastic putty knife to apply the wax. Keep the putty knife at a 45-degree angle, with the tip pointing slightly up. Rub it across some putty placed on the scratch several times, filling the area. Then, remove the excess wax with a paper towel and run the putty knife across it a few more times to smooth the spot.

Buff the Spot

Once the wax is in place, it’s time to buff the area to make sure the finish aligns with your flooring. Usually, you can tackle the job with a clean microfiber cloth. Use a circular motion to polish the spot, ensuring it blends in correctly.

Allow the Paste Wax to Dry

Review the manufacturer’s instructions to see the total drying time. It could take a few hours, so leave the spot uncovered and undisturbed until then.

Clean the Floor

After the paste wax dries, you can clean the floor again. Use your vinyl floor cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding application.

Once that’s handled, rinse the spot with clean water. Finally, remove excess water with a clean microfiber towel before allowing the floor to air dry.

3. Scratch Repair Pen

Clean the Area Around the Scratch

As with the approaches above, the first step is to clean the area around the scratch. Start by sweeping or wiping up any surface dirt and debris. After that, use the hard floor attachment on your vacuum to get any dust out of the scratch.

Once that’s done, apply your vinyl floor cleaner following the manufacturer’s directions. Rinse the area with clean water, wipe away excess moisture with a clean microfiber cloth, and let the spot air dry.

Use the Scratch Repair Pen

After cleaning the area, you can use the scratch repair pen to disguise the scratch. In most cases, you can simply run it along the scratch to deposit color. Make sure to keep the pressure light, and make several passes if you need more coverage.

Buff the Scratch

After using the scratch repair pen, you’ll typically need to gently buff the area. Use a microfiber cloth, light pressure, and circular motions. Continue until you get the desired degree of polish.

Let It Set

Usually, the curing times for scratch repair pens are short. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long you need to wait before moving on to the final step.

Clean the Area Again

Once the spot cures, you’ll want to clean your vinyl flooring again. Apply a vinyl floor cleaner following the product’s directions. Rinse the area with water, remove excess moisture with a clean microfiber cloth, and let the spot air dry.

What Causes Scratches in Vinyl Flooring?

You can end up with scratches in your vinyl flooring in a few different ways. The most common one is from furniture, particularly pieces you frequently move, like dining room chairs. Dragging the feet across the floor can harm the surface of your flooring, resulting in scratches.

Small rocks stuck in shoes can also leave scratches on vinyl flooring. The same is true of long pet nails, particularly dogs. Dogs don’t have retractable claws, and the nails are tough, so they can leave marks on your flooring.

In some cases, toys with sharp edges can scratch vinyl flooring. This is more likely if a child tends to drag or push them across the floor while applying downward pressure.

Can You Repair Deep Scratches in Vinyl Floors?

If you have deep scratches on your vinyl floors, options like paste wax are usually the best for repairing them. Paste wax and wax sticks don’t just deposit color; they leave wax behind that can physically fill the scratch.

However, whether they’re effective or noticeable after application can vary. If the scratch is deep but slim, paste wax is worth trying. However, if the gouge is wide, the paste wax may not blend in fully. As a result, it can look like a discolored line on your floor.

You may want to replace the vinyl planks with significant damage instead of filling the scratches. While it requires a bit of effort, it will ultimately restore the look of your flooring.

Can You Replace Individual Vinyl Floor Planks?

Generally speaking, you can replace individual vinyl floor planks. How you’ll go about it depends on whether you have click-and-lock floating vinyl flooring or if the plants are glued separately.

With click-and-lock vinyl planks, you typically start at the nearest wall that runs parallel to the planks. Take off the baseboard to gain access to the plank’s edge. Then, pull the boards until you reach the plank you want to replace.

That process allows you to remove the interlocking pieces until you reach the damaged plank, making it easier to take out. Then, you install the replacement plank, make sure it locks into place and then put back the rest of the flooring. Finally, reattach the baseboard.

If you have glued vinyl plank flooring that doesn’t interlock, you can use a scraper or similar object to carefully pry up the damaged board. Next, remove excess dried glue on your floor and clean the area.

Apply new adhesive, letting it dry a little until it’s tacky. Carefully place the new plank and press down to get solid adhesion. If you prefer, you can use a heavy roller to make that easier.

Finally, use a clean microfiber cloth and water to remove the excess adhesive that is pushed up. Avoid walking across that plank or placing items on it until the glue is fully cured.

How to Prevent Scratches on Your Vinyl Floors

Floor Protectors on Furniture

Applying felt floor protectors on the feet of your furniture can reduce the odds that moving the piece will scratch your floor. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive solutions and are typically easy to apply.

You usually simply peel off the backing to expose the adhesive. Then, firmly press the adhesive side against the foot of your furniture piece. After that, you can usually just sit the foot on your floor and use the furniture piece as usual.

Doormats at Entrances

Doormats give you a way to remove dirt and debris from your shoes before entering your home. Choose options with some light scrubbing capabilities, as more texture is typically a better option for removing small rocks, gravel, and more from treads.

Removing Shoes When Inside

Taking your shoes off when inside your home also makes a difference. In this case, whether dirt or debris is stuck on your shoes is less relevant, as they won’t end up moving across your flooring.

Rugs and Other Floor Coverings

Rugs and similar floor coverings protect your vinyl flooring by acting as an upper layer. By adding them to high-traffic areas, the finish of your vinyl floor experiences less wear and tear.

If you’re worried about the rug shifting on your vinyl floor, place a rug gripper down first. Usually, these are made of rubber or similar materials, creating some traction that keeps the rug in place.

Regular Cleanings

Dirt and debris on your vinyl flooring can lead to scratches if it’s dragged across the surface or ground into your flooring. Plus, various chemicals can harm your floor’s finish, making it less effective at protecting the underlying surface.

Ideally, you want to sweep and vacuum at least weekly. How often you need to clean with a mop may depend on the amount of traffic and how quickly dirt accumulates. However, it’s typically best to aim for every other week, though do it more often if debris and grime build up quickly.

Trimming Pet’s Nails

By shortening your pet’s nails, they won’t dig into your vinyl flooring as much. Precisely how short you can go depends on the position of the quick, which is a soft cuticle area with nerves and blood vessels.

You never want to cut into the quick. Along with being painful, it can bleed. Instead, trim the tips of the nails while leaving a little space before you would reach the quick.

If your pet is patient, you can also lightly file their nails after a trim. This allows you to address sharp edges, reducing the odds of scratches on your floor. However, if that isn’t an option, make sure cats have a scratching post and that dogs are regularly walked on a surface like concrete or asphalt, as that can also remove sharp edges.

Best Scratch-Resistant Vinyl Flooring

If you’re looking for the best scratch-resistant vinyl flooring, luxury vinyl planks or tiles are usually the way to go. They use higher-end materials to offer exceptional durability. Additionally, many of the layers are a bit thicker, which could make repairing scratches in the future easier.

Further, wood-look luxury vinyl flooring usually has some surface texture. Since it isn’t completely flat, small scratches may be less noticeable.

Finally, by choosing a matte finish, imperfections also blend in with greater ease. As a result, minor scratches won’t catch your eye to the degree they would if the finish was glossier.

What’s the Best Way to Fix Scratches in Vinyl Flooring

Ultimately, the best way to fix scratches in vinyl flooring depends on the extent of the damage. For light surface scratches, a scratch repair pen or scratch concealer can work. If they’re a bit deeper, try paste wax instead. However, for large gouges, replacing the plank may be the better approach.

Did you learn everything you wanted to learn about fixing scratches in vinyl flooring? If so, tell us about it in the comments below. Also, if you know someone trying to repair scratches on their vinyl floors, please share the article.

Written By: Yevgen

YevgenI'm a DIY nut, and the founder and chief editor here at Weekend Builds.
This site is a result of my DIY passion, and to share the joys I have experienced fixing, building, and creating things over the years.

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